Psalm 73:19

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 19. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! This is an exclamation of godly wonder at the suddenness and completeness of the sinners' overthrow. Headlong is their fall; without warning, without escape, without hope of future restoration! Despite their golden chains, and goodly apparel, death stays not for manners but hurries them away; and stern justice unbribed by their wealth hurls them into destruction.

They are utterly consumed with terrors. They have neither root nor branch left. They cease to exist among the sons of men, and, in the other world, there is nothing left of their former glory. Like blasted trees, consumed by the lightning, they are monuments of vengeance; like the ruins of Babylon they reveal, in the greatness of their desolation, the judgments of the Lord against all those who unduly exalt themselves. The momentary glory of the graceless is in a moment effaced, their loftiness is in an instant consumed.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 19. They are utterly consumed with terrors. Their destruction is not only sudden, but entire; it is like the breaking in pieces of a potter's vessel, a sherd of which cannot be gathered up and used; or like the casting of a millstone into the sea, which will never rise more; and this is done with terrors, either by terrible judgments inflicted on them from without, or with terrors inwardly seizing upon their minds and consciences, as at the time of temporal calamities, or at death, and certainly at the judgment, when the awful sentence will be pronounced upon them. See Job 27:20 . John Gill.

Verse 19. If thou shouldest live the longest measure of time that any man hath done, and spend all that time in nothing but pleasures (which no man ever did but met with some crosses, afflictions, or sicknesses), but at the evening of this life, must take up thy lodging in the "everlasting burnings" and "devouring fire" ( Isaiah 30:14 ); were those pleasures answerable to these everlasting burnings? An English merchant that lived at Dantzic, now with God, told us this story, and it was true. A friend of his (a merchant also), upon what grounds I know not, went to a convent, and dined with some friars. His entertainment was very noble. After he had dined and seen all, the merchant fell to commending their pleasant lives: "Yea," said one of the friars to him, "we live gallantly indeed, had we anybody to go to hell for us when we die." Giles Firmin (1617- 1617), in "The Real Christian, or, A Treatise of Effectual Calling."

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verses 18-20. The end of the wicked is,

  1. Near: Thou hast set, etc. It may happen at any
    time.
  2. Judicial: Thou bringest, etc.
  3. Sudden: How are they, etc.
  4. Tormenting: They are utterly consumed, etc.
  5. Eternal: Left to themselves; gone from the mind of
    God; and disregarded as a dream when one awaketh. No
    after act respecting them, either for deliverance or
    annihilation.

Verse 19. The first sight and sense of hell by a proud and wealthy sinner, who has just died in peace.